New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Sweden Bankrolls WAD Project

Windhoek — Women's Action for Development (WAD) in its quest to empower more women has launched the Wise Economy Partner Driven Cooperation project, which seeks to train between 200 and 300 women during this year to enable them to run their own businesses.

The project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the government of Sweden to the tune of N$1.9 million.

WAD Executive Director Veronica de Klerk says with the assistance from SIDA, business women at entry level will be assisted to proceed to the mid-level of business expertise and activities, while those already there will be trained to progress to the next level.

However, women already operating at the advanced level will be offered training to operate at the international level and to take part in multi-lateral business operations and trade fairs in partnership with Botswana, South Africa and Sweden.

"It came to our attention that some women at this level are so successful that they are even able to pay for their children's university expenses when they are unsuccessful in obtaining study bursaries," De Klerk said about women starting at the entry level of business operations such as hawkers.

"This proves the point that many women at this level indeed have exceptional business acumen, which cannot be left without further training. The fact that some women are doing well, simply means that they would excel with proper training," she said.

She said other women at entry level are however often the victims of unscrupulous clients who cheat them, because some of them could be semi-literate or even illiterate and thus easy targets for uncrupulous individuals.

Training for such women therefore has to start from the absolute basics, including training them on how to use calculators to assist them with calculations. The project further seeks to tap into networks on Women's Economic Empowerment with South Africa, through the NGO, "Mhani Gingi", as well as through the Botswana Confederation of Commerce and other countries in Southern Africa, where the Chamber Trade Sweden has networks.

The project aims to liberate business women in Namibia to become an authoritative force in the economy and not only by helping to create more women entrepreneurs, but also to establish international business links and in so doing to attract foreign capital into the economy.

De Klerk said the obvious benefits for Namibia will be employment creation, the improvement of the disposable income of households, as well as poverty reduction.

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